Pokemon Legends Arceus Switch Review – Do Endless Tutorials Ruin Exciting NEW Direction? | Games | Entertainment

I have a big confession to make… I don’t really like Pokemon games. I’ve always loved the “catch ’em all” concept, I used to watch the cartoon series with Ash, Misty, and Brock, and I love Pokemon Go (even though Mewtwo keeps getting away from me) . But when it comes to the mainline Pokemon games, I’ve always found them a bit boring. While long-running franchises like Zelda, Mario, and Metroid continue to evolve, improve, and in some cases completely transform, Pokemon games have remained pretty much the same. That’s why I’m looking forward to Pokemon Legends: Arceus, which promises to shake up the feeling of stagnation and give the franchise a much-deserved facelift.

The good news is that Pokemon Legends Arceus is, for the most part, the breath of fresh air the Pokemon series needed.

While the mainline Pokemon games feature traditional turn-based battles and RPG game mechanics, Arceus is much more like an action-adventure game.

It still has turn-based battles, upgrades, and all that other good stuff, but on a much bigger scale and with a lot more variety.

This variety is mostly found in how you approach Pokemon encounters, both in terms of catching pocket monsters and battling them in the wild.

On the one hand, you can use cover to sneak up on unsuspecting Pokémon and attempt a direct capture, or go ahead and start battles with alert pocket monsters. You may even have to dodge a few attacks.

There’s a neat new combat system where you can sacrifice more moves for power or perform lighter attacks in quick succession. It adds an extra layer of strategy to the combat system, though it’s rarely useful beyond boss-level encounters.

Even better, the battles are now fluid, which makes the experience much smoother.

Indeed, the importance of the flawless combat system cannot be underestimated. With everything happening in real time and no separate battle screens, Pokemon Legends Arceus feels less like a video game and more like an interactive adventure.

I’ve seen a lot of people pretend Arceus is how they imagined a Pokemon game in their head. I totally agree and think the fluid combat system plays a big part in that.

The sense of adventure is further enhanced by the traversal system, which gives players the ability to soar through the skies, gallop across the plains, and carve their way through the mountains, all with the help of their Pokemon partners.

A nice side effect of this extra freedom is that you’ll encounter more powerful Pokémon relatively early in your adventure, which will make for a much more challenging experience overall.

Unfortunately, however, you’ll have to put up with endless dialogue and tutorials before you can truly embark on your adventures.

Excessive hand-holding is one of my biggest pet peeves in gaming, and Pokemon Legends Arceus is one of the worst games in recent memory for it. Even more unbearable is when you’re shown how to do the same thing twice – even if you didn’t have a hard time figuring it out the first time.

The story itself takes place in the feudal region of Hisui, which later becomes Sinnoh. You play as a young Pokémon trainer who is transported to a time when humans and Pokémon don’t co-exist like they do in the games we all grew up with.

It’s your job to explore the Hisui region and create the region’s first Pokedex. Despite such a simplistic story, it’s remarkable how much unnecessary dialogue Game Freak has managed to cram in.

Pokemon Legends Arceus is definitely worth sticking with, but those first few hours are hard work.

Only slightly more interesting is the frame itself. The Hisui area is a vast green space with distant mountain ranges, waterfalls, sandy beaches and caverns. Indeed, at first glance Pokemon Legends Arceus looks a bit like Breath of the Wild.

But while the living, breathing game world of Breath of the Wild was full of interesting areas to explore and secrets to uncover, the Hisui region has little to offer.

It might be big, but it’s also extremely simple and in some cases quite ugly. Considering the number of units sold by Pokemon games and the value of the franchise, it’s really disappointing that more resources haven’t been used to boost the visuals or create a more interesting world.

Luckily, the new and improved battle system and classic “catch ’em all” gameplay loop means you’ll enjoy playing Pokemon Legends Arceus, once you get past the tutorials.

There’s definitely room for improvement, but Game Freak’s latest entry in the Pokemon series is a big step in the right direction.

VERDICT: 3.5/5


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